Bodies at the Borders Symposium, organized by Carlos Motta and Rachel Nelson, January 24-25

at UC Santa Cruz and SFMOMA
Carlos Motta
Friday, January 24, 2020 to Saturday, January 25, 2020
UC Santa Cruz and SFMOMA

Bodies at the Borders is a two-day symposium addressing issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, and race as they intersect with the geopolitics of borders. The symposium will take place at SFMOMA and University of California, Santa Cruz, January 24-25, 2020.


The symposium compliments and informs two art projects by New York-based, Colombian-born artist Carlos Motta that will be on view at SFMOMA and UC Santa Cruz respectively. His projects focus on historical and present-day migrations and powerfully engage the production and management of borders both as (inter)national boundaries and sites of inclusion and exclusion. The symposium, produced by Carlos Motta in collaboration with Rachel Nelson, UC Santa Cruz, brings together artists, activists, and scholars to further interrogate the geopolitics of borders. 

The panel discussions, keynote presentations, think-tanks, and performances that compose Bodies at the Borders are staged around the following questions: 

How do issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, at their intersection with race, ethnicity, class, and religion, map onto policies of migration, national security, and notions of citizenship? 

How are liberal ideas of sexual orientation and gender identity used to “pinkwash” brutal state policies underpinning some of the migration crises sweeping the globe? Conversely, how do exclusionary and inclusionary border politics target LGBTQIA+ populations? 

How do trans* perspectives deepen the understanding of gendered and sexualized regimes of inclusion and exclusion? 

How do histories of racial capitalism and forced human displacement plot the routes of border politics? 

How are the sexual politics of settler colonialism and U.S. imperialism used to manage indigenous peoples and lands? 

How do the walls of the prison industrial complex and the borders around nations merge in contemporary regimes of social and political containment?